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Posts Tagged ‘surrender’

In the book of Ecclesiastes, The Preacher shares with the reader his observations about life. His conclusions, are that yes, life does have meaning. But the meaning lies in how we live. A life that is lived in constant pursuit of material gain, one where the acquisition of excess comes at the cost of emotional and physical sacrifice is to me a life that is in constant motion…but for all the wrong reasons. The Preacher called it vanity. And I agree.

Everyone must and should earn their own way. That is not in question. But to what degree? The hustle and bustle of a daily “grind” can be toxic to us if we despise the very activity that we rush off to each morning. It can also be detrimental to our health as it is bound to produce an unnecessary amount of stress on a daily basis. Yet, for the sake of recognition and/or material gain, we will endure such a level of un-fulfillment until old age relieves us of that task or the toxicity of it all fills us with disease.

Life does have meaning when looked at from the right perspective. It is a gift from God. And not only did He give us life, He gave us “directions” (the Bible) on how to live it. All we need to do is ask for His guidance and help in understanding and following those directions.

Once we understand the real meaning of life – what our true purpose is – we become free to put everything else into its proper perspective. Revelations Chapter 4, verse 11 tells us why we were created:
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”

And The Preacher sums it up in Ecclesiastes Chapter 12, verse 13 by saying, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”

Everything else we do should be secondary.

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I used to wonder about life.

When I was ten years old, I found myself wondering quite often, about what the whole purpose for living was. One day my older brother said to me, “Stop trying to figure it out or you’ll go crazy.” So, I took his advice – slowly. But my confusion persisted for the next eleven years, and then waned when I found Jesus Christ. Then, it returned when I later rejected Jesus, deciding to live my life without Him.

During that time, I groped my way through life, formulating my own ideas and opinions that would make me feel comfortable. Needless to say, my opinions on the purpose of life would sometimes change depending on what phase of my life I was in, or who I was with.

But one day, I went back to church. I relearned all that I had let go of (and more), and I remembered that God doesn’t operate or think the way I do. He has an ultimate purpose for us, and it doesn’t change regardless of where we’re at in life, or what we’re doing. Because God loves us, He only wants the best for us. His best. And in the end, that’s everlasting life with Him in Heaven.

Seems like a simple concept, huh? But maybe not.

Maybe not because we have to first reject our own opinions, and believe that there is an after-life. For God has said, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Then, we have to believe that that after-life has only two destinations – Heaven or hell, and depending on how we live our lives here on earth will determine which destination our soul ends up at.

Yes, I used to wonder about life until I found the answers to my questions in the Bible, God’s Holy words. Ecclesiastes Chapter 12 tells me, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”

And we are told in Colossians 1:16, “… all things were created by him, and for him:”

So, in essence, we were created by God for God. That is whom we must serve through His Son Jesus Christ.

Now, once you know the meaning of your life, and what you’re supposed to be doing it won’t seem so fickle. You won’t see yourself as useless. Because you’re not. You have a purpose. You have a life to live, love to give, and a Savior to serve who’s always looking out for you.

Of course, some change on your part is going to have to take place, some surrendering of self to Jesus Christ so that He can transform you and give you the wisdom and spiritual discernment you’ll need in order to understand your role as a creation of God.

And believe this – your role is not to steal, kill, abuse, hurt, or do any of the things that cause harm to you or others. That’s a role reserved for satan and his demons.

But that’s not God’s plan for you.

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Have you ever been determined to stop some bad habit? Something that you know you shouldn’t be doing, but you’ve continued doing it anyway?

Maybe it’s behaving in a rude and attitudinal manner. Maybe it’s stealing, cheating, lying. Maybe you actively listen to somebody gossiping about someone else while you tell yourself, “I’m not the one gossiping. I’m just listening.” It could be any number of things depending on who you are.

We’ve all been there. We’ve entered into our places of employment wound up so tight that it was difficult to even say a pleasant, ‘Good morning’. At one time or another, we’ve stood in the middle of a circle, on the sidelines, or sat in a chair and passively listened while someone else dragged another person’s reputation through the mire. Then, when the destroyer of reputations was finished. We just shook our heads, and didn’t say a word. But silence does not exempt us. In fact, it’s just the opposite…our silence makes us a party to the crime.

Change is hard. I know. It has to be a learned behavior because our tendency is to snap at someone else when we’re in a bad mood. Our tendency is to pull up a chair in eager anticipation of hearing something about someone else’s character that’s worse than our own. Somehow, it makes us feel superior. We’re glad that it’s not us they’re talking about. But it will be. Next time.

Feeling superior to someone else is a deceitful form of reassurance. Because the reality is that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23

When I acknowledge my sinfulness and/or a specific sin, I go to God in prayer asking for His forgiveness. He hears me because I have an active relationship with Jesus Christ. He forgives me because I have surrendered to Jesus and have made Him the Lord and Savior of my life. The Lord strengthens me, and as he renews me my old behaviors are stripped away and new behaviors take their place. A new me emerges. One that has long since stopped taking part in any form of gossip. One that wishes to treat others with the most basic of human niceties, one that wishes to be kind and strives to be more like Christ each day.

Do you want to be more like Jesus Christ? You may be able to change some old behaviors, but you cannot – of your own strength – attain to a level of living that is pleasing to God without first surrendering your old self to Jesus Christ. You must surrender to Jesus first, and then He will lift you up!

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Where are your treasures stored?  Are they locked behind a heavy metal vault at the bank?

Are they hidden somewhere in your home?

Maybe they’re secured away in the form of CD’s.

Maybe you wear them everyday on your fingers, wrist, and around your neck.

Maybe you put them on your feet and on your body.

Maybe you drive it everyday.

Or maybe you sit back, relax, and watch it as often as you can.

Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  Matthew 6: 19-21

It’s wonderful if you’ve been able to accumulate treasures of financial worth here on earth, but what treasures have you amassed in Heaven?  Take an inventory of your earthly and heavenly treasures.

Which one outweighs the other?

If you have more treasures stored up on earth than you do in Heaven, it’s time to re-prioritize.  Our earthly treasures will not follow us when we die, but our lack of heavenly treasures will, and by then it will be too late to make amends with the One who will judge us all.

Remember what Jesus said.  “…for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Where is your heart?  Is it with Jesus or is it completely entangled with the materialisms of this world?

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Kindness

Whatever happened to common courtesy?

The other day, I said, “Hi”, to the cashier at the counter, and he looked at me as if I’d just offended him.  It happens frequently.  Sometimes it’s a female, and she’ll mumble a ‘Hi’ back.  Sometimes my friendly gesture is simply not returned.  And I wonder – what’s so difficult about saying one word?

We’re living in an angry world.  And that anger has caused things like road rage, riots, spur of the moment killings, and a great misuse of the tongue…you know…running off at the mouth.  People die because of that last one alone.

There’s a thin line between being mad, and being angry.  Webster defines anger as “a strong feeling of displeasure…”  It defines mad as “a fit or mood of bad temper.”  It also defines mad as being “carried away by intense anger, marked by intense and often chaotic activity.

Anger not only leads to injury, death, and prison.  But like a cancer, it slowly, quietly destroys your physical health.  The next thing you know you’re complaining about an ache here, an ache there.  Think about it…there may be a connection.

So, why this level of anger?

I know what it was for me.  I was missing the love, peace, security, and comfort of Jesus Christ.  But ever since I accepted Him into my heart, He has cleansed me of the foul language I used to use to express my anger.  The rage I used to sometimes feel inside over some insignificant thing is now gone.  I stay close to Him because if I don’t the old me will most definitely return.  My enemy, satan, will see to that!

There’s another hidden consequence of anger; one that causes the most damage of all, and that is the damage it causes to your soul.

Paul said in Ephesians 4:26, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:  He said, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.  (Ephesians 4:31-32)

Are you struggling with an angry spirit?  Would you like to be tenderhearted?  Let Jesus Christ help you.  Surrender your anger – and everything else – to Him.  Confess whatever sins your anger may have caused you to commit.

The Bible says, “…the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” (James 1:20)  That means if you are full of anger, you cannot be pleasing to God.

We are to “be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:” (James 1:19).  That means we should be quick to listen, slow to run our mouths, and even slower to get angry.

Confess your sins to Jesus Christ, and ask Him to come into your heart and take control.  He died on the cross so that you could live forever with Him.  It is an amazing gift of love just waiting for you to receive.

Accept Jesus Christ as your PERSONAL Lord and Savior, be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive God’s precious gift of eternal life in Heaven and He will help you with your issue of anger.

“But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.”  (Colossians 3:8)  Jesus Christ will help you do this.  He did it for me.

Now, there are some things we should get angry about – injustices done to the innocent, the young, the old, and the helpless.  But in expressing that anger we should remember to “sin not”.  Then there are some battles not worth fighting – and certainly not worth dying over.

We must choose our battles carefully.  It is better to be kind and live, than to be angry and die too soon.

Let us surrender and give God the Glory.

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Surrender

This little survey is meant for everyone to take a look at his or her own soul.  You take a look at yours, I’ll take a look at mine.

1)  What is the #1 most important thing or person in your life?  Is it God?

2)  Have you made up your own beliefs about God?

3)  Have you ever used the phrase, “Oh my God”, in a casual way (i.e. you weren’t even thinking about God when you said it)?  Or have you ever used the Holy name of Jesus Christ as part of a filthy cuss word?

4)  Have you ever dishonored or disobeyed your parents?

5)  Have you ever acted hateful or thought hateful things about someone else?

6)  Have you ever lusted after someone?

7)  Have you ever stolen anything?  (It can be as small as a…Suzy Q or as big as a car.  If it wasn’t yours, and you took it…that’s stealing.)

8)  Have you ever told a lie?  (This includes little “white” lies)

9)  Have you ever wished that you could take something away from someone else or wished you had what they had?  That’s called covetousness.

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions you are GUILTY!

And so is everybody else.

“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  Romans 3:23

But what is sin?

“Every one that doeth sin doeth also lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.”  1John 3:4

Therefore, sin is the breaking of God’s law.

So, if you answered “yes” to one or more of the questions above like I did, that means you have broken God’s law, which makes you a what…?  Sinner – that’s right.

BUT

Jesus Christ paid for our sins when He suffered and died on the cross!

I surrendered my life to Jesus, and I was forgiven of my sins.  God said He would remember them no more.  He has sent a helper, the Holy Spirit, to help me live a life that is pleasing to Him.

And what did I have to give up?  What did I lose?  Let’s see…cussing, acting in a hateful manner, lying, stealing, fornicating, disrespectful behavior.  Hmm…aren’t those all the things that have the world in the messed up state it’s in now?

For all of those who are saved, and all those who know God’s commandments but do not obey Him, it’s like crucifying Jesus Christ over and over again.  I asked this question before:

How long do you think God is going to keep waiting on you before He says times up?  It’s over!

I, myself, am not willing to take that chance.  I live my life for Jesus Christ, and I am living.  Once I decided to drop the anger and the attitudes, to forgive and not hate.  I became free.

Sometimes, because I am still a work in progress, I speak too quickly when I should be listening.  Sometimes, I form an opinion without adequate facts.  But the marvelous thing about having Jesus in my life is that He let’s me know in my heart and conscience when I have done, said or thought something I should not have.  I pray for His guidance, and I can count on Him.  And He has  NEVER let me down!

You can be free too – if you want to be.  You don’t have to live with attitude.  You don’t have to be weighed down with hatred and anger and whatever else plagues you.  You CAN have peace and direction.

That’s what God wants to give you…and more.  That’s how He meant for you to live.  But you have to trust Him.  You have to surrender.

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